According to Zambia Demographic and Health Survey (ZDHS) 2018, more than 36 per cent of Zambia’s population lacked access to basic drinking water services while more than 67 per cent lacked access to basic sanitation services in 2018. An estimated 10 per cent of the population practiced open defecation while 76 per cent of households did not have access to a handwashing facility with soap and water in 2018.
Lack of adequate WASH services may pose serious challenge for effective prevention and control of COVID-19. For effective COVID-2019 response, it is, therefore, critical not only to sustain the existing water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services but also scale-up these to reach the unserved and under-served vulnerable population, as well as meet the increased demand.
Against the above backdrop, the WASH response is meant to contribute to GRZ’s wider efforts aimed at reduction of exposure to and prevention of the human to human transmission of COVID-19 through strengthening IPC and sustaining and scale-up of WASH services and promotion of appropriate hygiene behaviours.
The critical needs in the WASH sector include strengthening of WASH and infection prevention and control (IPC) measures in the health care facilities and schools; improvement and continuity of water supply to vulnerable communities, especially in the rural and high-density urban areas; provision of critical supplies including soap and handwashing stations to vulnerable populations and hygiene promotion together with infection prevention and control messaging.
A total of 183 health care facilities and treatment centres benefitted from WASH and IPC improvement measures in Mwinilunga, Lumezi, Chongwe, Rufunsa, Kalomo, Namwala, Sinazongwe, Luwingu, Kasenengwa, Kapiri Mposhi, Chibombo, Mporokoso, Mbala and Kasama districts.
387 healthcare facility staff were trained on IPC in Mbala, Lumezi, Kasama and Chongwe districts.
Approximately 25,000 people in peri-urban areas of Lusaka were reached with safe water.
About 716 schools benefited from hygiene supplies, including soap and chlorine, in Mwinilunga, Luampa, Nkeyema, Mumbwa, Kafue, Mazabuka, Monze, Choma, Pemba, Kalomo, Namwala, Sinazongwe, Chongwe, Rufunsa, Nyimba, Katete, Kasenengwa, Lumezi, Kapiri Mposhi, Chibombo, Kasama, Mporokoso, Luwingu, Isoka, and Mbala, Nsenga hill districts.
An estimated 5,919 vulnerable people were provided soap and/or other critical WASH supplies in Mumbwa, Kafue, Sinazongwe, Chongwe, Kalomo, Namwala, Nyimba, Luampa, Mbala, Mporokoso, Monze, Lumezi, Luwingu and Mwinilunga districts.
An estimated 2,682,395 people were reached with messages on safe hygiene practices in Lusaka, Mumbwa, Shibuyunji, Chibombo, Chongwe, Luangwa, Rufunsa, Nyimba, Chisamba, Mporokoso, Kasenengwa, Kasama, Isoka, Kalomo, Pemba, Namwala, Sinazongwe, Kafue, Monze, Mazabuka, Katete and Lumezi districts.
Planned activities to support commercial utilities in improvement and continuity of WASH services have not yet started due to funding gaps.